I Made It Here

20 years ago I experienced addiction and lost the opportunity to be my daughters full time mom.  That loss was deep and dark.  It brought me to places I barely survived and it brought me into recovery.  Recovery and the hard work that goes with it helped me survive.  The grief and loss work brought me to a ‘rebirth’ a place that reminds of of the story of christ – the process of ‘death and resurrection’.  I had to die to many of my struggles in order to be re-born a capable person who could live without vices.

As I planned my future life I still wanted to be a parent and I thought ‘maybe’, just maybe, I could parent children as a foster parent.  So with my heart on my sleeve and great hopes I began that journey and through the years learned a lot about the fullness of parenting full time (the fullness includes all the crappy stuff too)

I have had the privilege to parent (full time) 12 children for anywhere from 3 months, to two years and most recently 16.5 years.  16.5 years ago I accepted into my home a boy with a life limiting illness and medical complexities. No one could predict how long he would live and all were amazed as he lived past 4 yrs, 10 yrs and reached 16.5 years to his death November 2016.

The lessons learned in caring for him and with him, changed my life, fulfilled all my desires for that full time parenting experience, taught me to be fully in moments – moments of joy and critical life threatening events, but moments all the same.

The most inspiring moments came through in our last year and months together  His body would cause breathlessness but his heart and determination never stopped hime from doing what brought him joy.  He would arrive down the stairs, or down a hallway, breathless and say “I Made It!’ – “I Made It Here” and we would sit together, wait for recover and carry on.

I didn’t realize it – until his passing that this mantra he had shared was passed on to me.  I would tell everyone this story of his living fully, share this inspirational anthem but once my heart realized he was gone – once the ache set in, I realized that I was the one who made it- I made it here to a place of wholeness, satisfaction completeness and blessed…
I Made it here –
I made it fully into MY heart!

How to Build a Guilt Free Language for Our Daughters

Guilt is one of the best tools to have on board for helping us to know when we have done something wrong. That’s it! It has no other use.

What we’ve done as a society is adopted this word to simplify what it is we are really feeling. We tend to say ‘Oh I feel so guilty’ just like we say ‘FINE’ when asked how we are.

Using the word FINE or Guilty is using a generic language box that tells others nothing.
It uses assumptions that others will understand what you mean. I get it! Socially it serves to stay safe from deeper conversation about real feelings and struggles…
Is this what you want to continue with?
Is it what you want for your daughters?

Let us build the emotional intelligence of our words and find opportunities to share them with our kids.

Guilt is the go to word for much deeper feelings and when we allow ourselves to use is as a casual greeting, in its standalone form we lose track of how we are truly feeling

Guilty
Feeling guilty is not a standalone generic term, it is unique to your set of feelings, perceptions and emotions. Here are some words that I have heard moms use when describing what their ‘guilt’. It was not about feeling guilty, but rather other feelings…

remorseful, worried, regretful. ashamed, sad, grieving, wistful, sinful, dishonored, bad, undeserving, responsible, failed, embarrassed,,,

It begins with you.
I encourage you to reach for the words that more closely relate to how you feel rather than generalizing. Use those words to describe the struggle of the moment instead of ‘guilty’. When you build your emotional intelligence you are in a place to exchange healthier emotional language. You can choose to translate the information you are learning so that you are not absently transmitting the emotional limits you may have suffered.

Your daughter is watching you to learn her emotional and social cues, from toddlerhood through teens she will seek your knowledge, approval and acceptance for demonstrating what she’s learned. She will be modeling how you approach the world using your emotional intelligence as her guide. She will reflect what she learned.

Ways to learn together  IMG_7363_bw

– explore feelings and the words that best describe them specifically
– talk about guilt and how it works to remind you that you crossed a line- ask what is that line?
– build a feeling vocabulary list – post it to the fridge
– give yourself permission to feel vulnerable when talking with kids
– spend time listening to your daughter work out her own problems – guide not direct

When you take care of you, you help take care of her.

To Be Guilt Free Means I Need to Invest in Me!

Writing today’s newsletter was an encouragement about investing in yourself by looking into the beliefs that drive you and parenting events where guilt comes into play.

It is a worthwhile investment – to raise your awareness of what you believe and what may be running at an unconscious core. (I’ll insert the newsletter at the end of this post)

What I Discovered while writing this morning is my own ‘guilt trip’ around being an entrepreneur and feeling torn between time invested here and now and the pull to set that aside to be with my son because …

My thought says “my kid is in front of a tv on such a beautiful day” –
Sub thoughts: you know you should get out of the house
emotional sensation: hurry, rush

My Counter thought: ” It’s Ok. You have to do what you have to do”

My thought says: “yeahbut! …( enter negotiations) I’ll get half done and pick it up later ( knowing I will be too tired later)
sub thoughts:  You know if you miss this opportunity you will regret it later ( that is shaming)
emotional sensation: breathless, feeling cagy

My Counter Thought: Hold on!! where is this coming from?

So I begin to allow myself to look at these thoughts.
Taking a deep breath is allowing me to release the emotional and gut feelings that were charging my thoughts
Breathing and allowing my body to get rid of the emotional sensation
I can see a deeper thought and belief …

It all comes and rests on what I was told was a quality of life vs what my child is able to do ( medically fragile) and what a quality of life is today!  Right now in this moment for him – for me

It is shaky with emotion and a little scary…
there is still the old base: get out of the house, go for a walk while it’s nice out, fresh air does you good…
~while all true – the belief is not always true, right now. ~

When you find yourself responding to a ‘guilt trip’ please do take some time to BREATHE , reflect and release the beliefs that are not working for you in your moment of right now.

—– here is today’s’ original e-mail post —
If you are not receiving my newsletter – please sign up on the right in the box and received my free e-book The 10 Secrets to Guilt Free Parenting

What does it mean to you as a mom, when I say ‘Invest in Yourself’

I use the word invest but it doesn’t sit quite right with me.
It feels businessy and I never really thought about my role as mom as a business nor my children as investments. But isn’t’ that what happens as mom? We invest in our children and we take all our own assets and put them toward that investment; children, their future and our lineage.

So much of this is based in our beliefs about what it means to be mom
You’ve learned through observation of your primary family how relationships work, how affection is shared, how guilt is experienced and how mothers behave. These beliefs are set within your bodies memories, not always conscious but blindly followed as behaviours and interactions – never questioned.

The talks about how guilt serves you.
Guilt is there to raise your awareness of something that is not right for you. An invisible boundary that is crossed. It is worth looking into what belief you are crossing, raising it up to conscious thought and examining if it is even working for you today? Is that belief relevant to who you are today and who you want to become tomorrow?

That is the investment I encourage you to do.
It will help you see:
what you are truly reacting to
what your belief is vs your reality
whether the belief serves you today
whether it was ever your belief to carry
that you can change how your move forward
raise the consciousness and emotional intelligence of you and yours
change what your children are learning from you on an unconscious level
There are still parenting skills that can help you with managing the ‘trigger’ guilt inducing situations. There are many tips and tricks that can help ease guilt and regrets, the most powerful will always be that personal investment in self awareness about guilt!

To Be Guilt Free Means I Need to Invest in Me!”

Solutions for Back to School Guilt Trips

So many factors come into play in the school year, time, routines, stress, demands, activities and they all smash up against your expectations of ‘being a good mom’ and a desire to do best for your kids!

It can go a little like this…
I want to buy / do the best for my child
I want to keep my child happy
I want my children to have appreciation for what I do
I want my kids to be thankful, grateful
I want my kids to see how good they have it
I  just want to them to SHUT UP!!!
Explode
GUILT

IMG_0077 - Copy copy

Every one of you reading this will understand some variation of this in your life and in the back to school time transition.  This is not the only transition or life stress that can increase guilt. It is the one we are in now.

Here is the ‘tip’ the suggestions you may want to try to decrease that level of guilt and regret.
Tip:  This stuff is work!   (Do the work as you see it come up, one step at a time.)

1.  Reset Explosions with Forgiveness
If you’ve hit the  “Shut Up!!” level of parenting then you are familiar with Regret and Guilt.

These two feelings can cause you to limit appropriate parenting boundaries for those situations.
Give yourself space and time to come back into your own place.  Reduce the grip guilt has on you before you apply further discipline or guidance on a topic.

Doing the personal work to reduce guilt or regret cannot happen without revisiting the parenting skills you have or that you need to address the topic and behaviour at hand. (join me Monday the 28th 6-8 for a Moms Back to School Sanity Session )

Self-forgiveness is a journey you can choose each and every time regret and guilt come up.  Make “Post it’s” your friend and write ! “I forgive you for…”  (name your guilt or regret.) on it, then post them on the mirror, in your wallet, on your phone.  Read it and Repeat daily!! In conjunction decide what parenting skills you need to work on to help prevent the struggle in the future.

2. Own your awesomeness! 
You being you and guiding your child is ENOUGH! I know it is a challenge in our world, everyone compares themselves to another – stop that – look at your awesomeness!  Make a list and post it if you have to.  Join my “Guilt-Free Moms” Facebook group to share and be supported in how awesome you are

3.   We are all responsible for our own feelings.
If you can be with your child and allow them to feel their feelings then you are shifting any responsibility you have in making them happy – teach them what feelings are, how to express them and be responsible for them.  You yourself included.

4. Take expectations out of the head.
How many times have I caught myself resenting my kids?  They did not appreciating me, what I did for them and their endless thanklessness?   Opps!  I never once told them that what I was doing for them had an expectation attached to it!

Get clear in your head and put it outside your head into words with them.  OK I am going to get you some potato chips to watch TV with, I expect you will clean up the spilled chips.   Ask them to repeat it.

Allow it and reinforce it by holding them to the task of cleaning up, A.k.a. honoring their agreement
This is a hot topic! Many women, moms tell me, “I can’t do this! If I don’t clean it up, no one else will!”

My answer – Yes You Can! Yes You Can, YES YOU CAN!
I am here to help you.

With Love,
Grandma K ~ Kim

Back to School Mama Blues

mom daughter walkLike so many others out there I saw my kid off to school this morning.

Once he was on the bus and safely on his way I could feel the tension release. I sat on my couch and listened to the silence of the house and my Big Pregnant Thought…’Now What?”

Now what will I do with myself?
There are so many thoughts and feelings… so many possibilities of what I can do with my time!!
TIME!!!
I have time!!
and there almost in the same moment is… The Ache.
There is a part of me that misses him already. It has been a lovely summer time filled with sweet time memorable time together. Yes I will miss that…

But the ache…

That ache is not as much about him as it is about me.
That ache is the withdrawal of oxytocin from our connections and familiarity of routine together.
The ACHE is more about finding myself – Again!
Here we are again in a place where my day is not filled with care and I feel naked!
Naked and lost..
Who am I again?
Who am I when I am not being mom?

If anything the school year marks the time and opportunity for all moms to wrestle with it once again.
Who am I when I am not being mom?

Sit with it
Remember who you are
Make a commitment to yourself to honour You time
Celebrate the amazing person you are in all your wonderful roles

Forgiveness

There are so many people in our daily lives, some precious some aggravating, but amongst them all is the opportunity to forgive any of them the wrong doings that cross your path.

– your child breaking your favorite mug
– your partner or friend hurting your feelings
– the neighbour, acquaintance insensitivity
– stranger crossing you
– yourself

Yes yourself. You and the burdens you carry for the decisions you’ve made.

The decision to forgive will always come down to how long you will choose to hold onto the grudge, the pain, the upset about a situation.

When you decide to release the burden of those feelings you set yourself free from the emotional labour of the event.

Freedom from reliving, reviewing, hashing it over, etc…
Forgiveness is for your freedom

When will you forgive yourself?

Discipline – I Was Wrong!

I will go first… I was wrong!

In 2007 I wrote about the praises of 1,2,3 and time out. I have applied this idea to my own children and as we move through the feelings or upset to calm again I would be faced with opportunities to say…
I Was Wrong…
I was wrong to yell, bark, scream…
I was wrong not to listen, turn my back, walk away ….
I was wrong to ground you for a week, month or lifetime…

Let’s talk it over now…

We all have a unique set of ideals about right and wrong and that is the birthplace of parental discipline.

We’ve learned from our parents and their parent before them, that ‘ to act in a certain way will receive a particular response’ ( the belt, the bottom,time out)

Did your parents ever say that they were wrong?

It is not a popular parenting ‘thing’ to do – many people believe it is a sign of weakness, it undermines their authority or makes them look wishy washy!

I say Phooey!file9541282977224

Saying, “I Was Wrong” is one of the most vulnerable things to say to anyone in this world… it leaves you feeling naked, regretful, and maybe guilty. ( you can get through this)

” to our children .. being vulnerable with them is the perfect place for them to learn and grow from. “

Little ones are already onto us with the ever present watching of body language – You can’t hide from that! Saying ‘I Was Wrong’ gives meaning or a label to what they already know and experienced watching you through their interactions with you.

Middle years children learn from you when you say “I was wrong” You teach them about being vulnerable and the self confidence that comes with that. It also invites them to say it as well, an important part of building a strong ‘self’

Teens have the opportunity to meet you on more level ground, to reciprocate and negotiate through conflicts before ever having to say “I was wrong”

The more you are willing to speak these words, the easier it is to share, be vulnerable, even to laugh at yourself alongside of your children.

Alongside of your children …
You are in this together.

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